We have been testing out the most beautiful toy storage trolley from Lulo Kids this month and I am secretly wishing that we had little ones again to push it around and look oh so adorable!
We used to own a little wooden trolley when our boys were toddlers that they used for toy storage and to push around but I can honestly tell you it was not as exquisite as this one (think red and white and yellow – eek!)
Lulo Kids is a Melbourne based small business designing and hand making beautiful wooden kids products. Known for their teepees, they have recently added these wooden trolleys to go with their gorgeous bespoke wooden blocks.
Again, I am over the moon that such Australian based toy companies now exist and thrive when a few years ago all you could find were overseas based companies whose production was based in fast paced China.
This month is an exciting one my friends. This month is a celebration of how far toy making has come in Australia.
When I started Kids Gifts and Toys over 3 years ago and started researching toy brands worldwide, there was very little coming out of Australia that was designed and made in Australia. In just a short space of time I have watched an incredible transformation and now I can happily say there is actually a handmade toy industry in Australia! I am super excited to be featuring “Monday the Plane” from Have a Nice Day toys for March’s “Toy of the month”; this is one Australian toy company that is making waves for all the right reasons.
“Monday the Plane” is just one of 7 wooden toys created by former industrial designer Jake Diaz alongside his wife Dom Diaz who fronts up all the business and social media side of things. This husband and wife team based on the Gold Coast, are reinventing wooden toys and bringing back the simplicity and purity for a new generation of children.
I have to admit that prior to being a mum of 2 boys, I was not hugely interested in Dinosaurs. I could honestly name 3 dinosaurs and that was pushing it. Fast forward 7.5 years and well as you can imagine so much of my life has changed and now I know dinosaurs by the dozen! Diplodocus, Cryolophosaurus, Trodon, Utahraptor, Ankylosaurus and the list goes on…
We have Schleich dinosaurs which the kids use as bath toys and to play games with, we have dino books and even a dino game, Bingosaurus! But at times, it can be hard to find really nice Dinosaur themed gifts, a lot of the time the dinosaurs are true to life and quite scary for little kids.
Until we found Dino Raw… this Adelaide based company is injecting the divine into dinosaurs with stunning results. Sarah has created pastel coloured dinosaurs, gelati coloured dinosaurs for dino loving babies, dinosaurs with smiles and dinosaur cushions too!
Puggle Post launched last month and finally there is an online shop bringing you the best in stylish, eco friendly presents that have an Australian theme for loved ones and family who are overseas.
Instead of sending them delightfully tacky cuddly koalas that fall apart in 5 minutes, Carmel, an expat who know calls Australia home, has sourced high quality, gorgeous pieces that will delight and captivate children and show them a little of why we call Australia home.
Hello lovely peeps, HUGE apologies as I have been a bit slack in my beloved “Meet the Maker” series of late with all my Bazaar preparations, but I am super excited for this month’s gorgeous maker Angela from Decor Me.
Decor Me is a divine handmade brand created by Angela from Sydney who has become known for her beautiful wooden doll stackers which are made of Tasmanian oak and using non toxic paint and natural sealants. They make the perfect toy for small hands!
As a toy blogger I see a lot of kids toys as you can imagine, but the ones I am always drawn to are ones that will last generations, ones that our children can enjoy, but also their children. In this very consumerist society, it can be easy to give your children toys upon toys upon plastic toys. But the ones that they will remember won’t be the plastic ones that break or run out of battery, but those that provide them with hours of imagination and wonder. The ones that are sturdy, robust and built to last, which is why I tend towards wooden toys. Aesthetically from a parent’s perspective they are beautiful to look at which is important as you will be seeing it daily, but from a consumerist perspective, they are also ones that you know will survive the rough and tumble of children. They won’t be thrown in the bin because they no longer work!
I have to say in looking for handmade and wooden toys over the past 2 years for my blog, it has honestly been quite a struggle. There are a lot of wooden toys but all made by the big companies; Plan Toys, Hape, Melissa and Doug, Janod and Kidkraft to name a few. We love our Hape & Plan Toys but not all the companies produce solid wood toys, many are made of MDF, which isn’t sturdy and if it is painted, then it chips easily.
However, just in the past year, there has been an absolute resurgence in handmade and wooden toys. And I can proudly say there are so many handmade and heirloom made toys being made right here in Australia, many in lovely mamas and papas homes! Woohoo!
Halloween is over and let’s roll on the festive season!
With it comes all the flurry of thinking about what presents aka kids toys to buy your children, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and grandchildren. So I thought I would help out over the next few weeks and give you some ideas with my gift guides, as we build up to Christmas 2015 ( 7 weeks + and counting, just thought I would add that in for some shock value!).
Wow, I cannot believe we are almost in November, where has the year gone? I am super excited about this “Pay It Forward” as we were extremely lucky to attend an “Under the Sea” themed birthday party way back in February ( it seems many moons ago) and much to our surprise, we received a Shark tail outfit from Schooza as Jasper’s party favour. I nearly fell over myself after seeing the label, realising I was going to be writing a blog feature on this brand later in the year.
As a child and as an adult, I love and adore dolls, so I am so very excited and truly honoured to present a gorgeous new handmade doll collection by GiddyUpGertrude, which is launching this Wednesday, 3rd of December. These dolls are seriously so sweet and beautiful. You will want to collect them all!
All dolls are designed and handmade on the Australian Gold Coast, by Jaimi Lee Pennell. With a childhood love of creating and drawing, not to mention building fairy houses in her garden, it seems that Jaimi was destined to turn this passion into a creative talent as an adult.
Each doll is hand stitched and takes 4-5 hours to complete with hundreds of hand stitches going in to make each doll’s face. All the materials are sourced from local shops or from fellow WAHM ( work at home mothers) running online shops.
The first collection from GiddyUpGertrude is aptly titled “Revez en Grand” or “Dream Big” and there will be 10 -15 dolls each individually made, with their own character, name and styling. Gorgeous names like Stella, Valerie, Suki, Mabel and Eden. Every doll has been designed with removable clothing and there will soon be a range of Giddy Up Gertrude dresses, kimonos and gorgeous faux fur vests which will launch in the next 12 months. Oh my, I cannot wait to see the sweetest of doll’s clothing for these divine dolls!
Not only has Jaimi turned her hand to dolls but she has also made 2 limited edition stunning pink flamingos for Wednesday and some seriously cute Watermelon bags. This gorgeous mama is beyond talented!
I wanted to find out more about the inspiration, design and background of this new fabulous mumpreneur enterprise and I took the opportunity to ask Jaimi a few questions about “GiddyUpGertrude”:
Meet the Maker: Jaimi Lee Pennell
Your dolls are truly stunning fashionista style pieces, what inspired your first doll collection, “Revez en Grand”, what is your background and how long has GiddyUpGertrude been in the making?
As a mother of 2 boys I don’t get to indulge in the gorgeous little girls fashion available at present, so this doll range has allowed me to get my fix of sequins, divinely soft tulles & all things pretty & pastel.
I taught myself how to sew almost 3 years ago, it was a way for me to cope and manage my Post Natal Depression. From this, my ability & confidence grew & creating really became a passion. Like a lot of people I started to make dolls using some great simple doll patterns that are easily available. However as my confidence grew I found myself really wanting to create a doll that reflected my soul & creativity, and the concept of GiddyUpGertrude was born. It has been a long road to create a pattern that I am 100% happy with, about 40 hrs of pattern testing in total, but I am so proud of how this first collection has come together.
Given that you have children of your own, are they the first testers of your dolls?
Haha, yes my toddler is known as the “destructor” tester! It is his job to make sure my dolls can stand up to the over affectionate cuddles & oddles of kisses they will receive in their life time.
As a child yourself, growing up, what was your favourite doll to play with and do you think it has helped to inspire you to create GiddyUpGertrude?
As a child my favourite doll was an old handmade ragdoll made by my great grandma’s sister. I loved her until her felt face had almost worn off & I actually rescued her from the bin a few times, as my mum thought she needed to be thrown away. Needless to say my love of dolls started very early, & has continued through to adulthood.
As your collection is aptly named “Dream Big” which is one of my favourite sayings, what made you take the HUGE plunge and finally realise your dream of making dolls and creating such beauty? To be 100% honest, like many young families our budget is tight & the thought of leaving my two beautiful boys to go back out into the work force broke my heart. Which is why I am fully committed to making GiddyUpGertrude a successful brand.
The response so far on Instagram for your dolls has been so exciting, there is a real buzz and anticipation for the release of your collection. I can and will predict that it will sell out within minutes, where do you see the future of GiddyUpGertrude?
I am so amazed at the response my dolls have had so far. After starting a little under a month ago, I never dreamed of them getting so much attention and praise! Its pretty overwhelming.
My dream for GiddyUpGertrude is to walk into fabulous boutiques and see my dolls proudly displayed. That would be an amazing accomplishment.
Finally, I am sure there is a little story behind the brilliant name, do tell, what is the story behind Giddy Up Gertrude?
Well, remember my favourite rag doll I spoke about? She was made by my great grandma’s sister, Gertrude. So I thought it was only fitting that the woman that ignited my love of handmade dolls, to get a special mention.
What a beautiful story filled with courage and bravery, overcoming post natal depression to create this beyond perfect doll collection by the sweetest of doll makers, Jaimi, all whilst having a new born baby strapped to her and her toddler using her photography props as car jumps! I can see that this first collection of dolls, is but the start of amazing things to come for GiddyUpGertrude.
RRP: GiddyUpGertrude dolls will be A$120.00 and will be released for sale at 11am QLD time on Wednesday 3rd December.
Disclosure: I have not received any gift or payment for this feature.